Filing your own taxes is easy to do if you maintain good records and know what resources to tap should you have questions. Even if your filing status is complicated, you can learn to file your income taxes. These tips will aid you during tax season and keep money in your pocket, rather than the tax preparer's.
There are several different filing forms to choose from, including Forms 1040, 1040EZ, and 1040A. Each form pertains to a different tax filing scenario, with Form 1040EZ being the easiest to use, and Form 1040 being the most difficult. Always choose the least complicated form for your filing status.
Keep good records. During the calendar year, maintain any records you'll need for filing your taxes. Any income that you receive should be tracked. For example, W-2s, 1099s, jury duty pay, and income from self-employment, trusts, and partnerships. You'll also want to track expenses related to child and dependent care, educational and moving expenses, and interest paid on student loans.
Find a good accounting program that coordinates with your bank and savings accounts. Programs like Quicken make tracking your income and expenses easier. You can download information directly from your bank accounts into the accounting software. This information can then be loaded into your income tax return.
Use a tax preparation software program to complete your income tax return. Many tax preparation programs work with accounting software, which makes filing your income tax return a snap. Best of all, tax preparation software can file your tax returns online, and in certain situations, there is no filing fee!
Get help from a tax advocate if you have questions. There are free programs through the Internal Revenue Service and the Small Business Administration (SBA). Visit an advocate in person for help with the IRS and filing procedures.